County commissioner chides mental health executive over crisis respite center

Daily Astorian, May 24 2019

A county commissioner chided the CEO of Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc. for putting the crisis respite center in Warrenton up for sale and withdrawing from a board that governs the facility.

“Recently, GOBHI has kind of pulled the rug out from that enterprise,” Commissioner Pamela Wev said during a presentation Wednesday night from competing coordinated care organizations. “Why should we trust you now?”

Kevin Campbell

Kevin Campbell

“Well, we didn’t pull the rug out of that enterprise,” Kevin Campbell, GOBHI’s CEO, countered. “What we had done is worked ourselves into being in a really unworkable situation with Clatsop Behavioral Health.”

Wev’s stinging comments come at a sensitive time for regional health care and mental health administrators in the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid for low-income and disabled patients.

GOBHI and Portland-based Moda Inc. are competing with the Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization to oversee the Oregon Health Plan in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties.

The Oregon Health Authority is expected to award the contract in July, and it is possible the state could allow both to serve the counties.

The competition has drawn concern from county commissioners and some health care and mental health providers who question whether it makes sense for the region to have two coordinated care organizations.

Launched by the state in 2012, coordinated care organizations essentially function as regional health care managers, working with providers to improve prevention, manage chronic illness and reduce costs in Medicaid.

The jockeying over the past several months has hinted at the potential for disruption.

The Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, for example, has chosen CareOregon to administer financing for Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare — Clatsop County’s mental health contractor, which operates the crisis respite center — starting in June. GOBHI has long held that role.

“The state is requiring coordinated care organizations to ‘double down’ on better integration of care and benefits between medical and behavioral health services in 2020,” Mimi Haley, the CEO of Columbia Pacific, said in an email about the switch. “This integration, now, allows us to propel the kind of coordination that our members expect and deserve.”